This is what I call a transition painting, between my last collection, Destiny and Love and the current Nature of Truth. It was started about a year ago, and over time (as I am in the moments to work on it), am in different processes of what I can only understand to be vulnerability and a deeper awareness- further than what my knowledge seeks. It has shown me a process of going in and out of myself, listening, being silent. Walking through myself, opening and closing my eyes to see the spaces. Spaces holding echos of the past, myths, old learnings and patterning, points of view both new and old- realising that I have to simply be still in the space (not so easy!). All of those shadows and holdings in the spaces which I previously described are not anywhere near as powerful as the awareness I have within. So I let go, and trust- this is the truth.
Early stages of the painting
Close up of final painting
Getting ideas into flow
After completing the art works about impermanence for HRH Princess Sirindhorn, I came to understand more about the importance of being present.
My works in that collection came to represent three main ideas, two of which I found inspired the next ideas for this painting:
- life is movement, flexible, and the more fluid this impermanence the more we are alive.
- What is real is the existing moment, and there are many moments in our transformation. We live in the grace of impermanence when we seek the ever present state of harmony.
Like the fish in the painting 'We will find our way in many moments,' (Ingrid Lee, 2015. Lustre, gold and platinum on porcelain, 33cm, Expressionism, Royal Art Collection Thailand), we move, and pause (like the large gold paste fish) in our stillness, always moving with the flowing ripples.
When we are in fluid motion like the fish which merge into the colour of the water, we have found our way. This is the flow and expression which I have applied to this painting. At first the painting was quite dark, using paynes grey (again I never paint with black, there is no black in this painting, only mixing the darkest values) mixed with phthlalo blue and southern blue ocean, and contrasting with cadmium reds, scarlet and so on. However as I started to think and feel through the painting over time, the colours came to life connecting and merging into the next concepts.
What kick started the next flow of concepts?
I started reading Rainer Marie Rilke- quite opportune timing with a lot of my paintings, and courses I’m developing about creativity and what stops your creativity. This quote impressed upon me most:
Living in the question, or just pausing is the biggest challenge for my mindfulness about impermanence. As you know, all of my painting collections on canvas and porcelain are conceptual, and in my post academic life, I still hold the habits of inquiry and analysing and postulating a rationale while seeking the truth- or something close to it! However, through the painting process of this art work, it became more apparent that coming to conclusion about any of my ideas, and simply finishing the painting to have it done, didn’t allow me to live in the moment...it actually hindered my creative flow, which is probably why it took so long to complete. More importantly I came to realise that the state of impermenance about myself or my works- Nature of Truth, was to stop seeking solutions. So, I came to enjoy the process to its fullest and not worry when I should have to finish the whole collection. In fact, the time it has taken to complete this painting has been the most rewarding experience.
My understandings of this are that answers are not expansive, they don’t allow me to further create. Only the other day I had a fearful moment thinking, once this collection is over- what else? It really had me worried.
I began to ask what else was possible.
So, I kept reading Rilke:
“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
How did the flow of colour occur?
To live in the moment and embrace impermenance is what this painting has come to mean for me. I went back to my research for the painting for Princess Sirindhorn, and started to see a new realisation about the quotes:
This painting expresses those subtle levels of impermanence as described by Venerable Robina Courtin:
‘In fact the subtle level of impermanence is the very coming into being of something, inherent in that is the passing away of it. You can’t have one without the other. You can’t have anything that exists that is within the process of cause and effect that doesn’t change, that doesn’t come and go. Come and go. Come and go.' Robina Courtin
Life is movement. The more life there is, the more flexibility there is. The more fluid you are, the more you are alive. – Arnaud Desjardins
I had written a lot about fluidity and flow of creativity in my Master thesis, it is the life force of the process of being creative. Colour for me is my first representation of thoughts and feelings, and I decided to dig deep into things which inspired me greatly- largely my last trip to Russia in 2014. The expressionist representations of horses have personal significance and connection with my Russian heritage, but it was the colours of the traditional scarves and textiles which really influnced both colour and brushwork. I used brushwork like stitches toward the bottom of the central figure which loop over some of the other detail work in contrast to the colours, building layers of concepts. In this painting, the movement of colour and shimmering contrasts of colours reflects those ideas and thought processes which are so important to embracing and enjoying the journey. Colours float energetically on top of each other creating dimensions of space, looking within, processes of expansion from shadows to light.
A big learning curve indeed, I'm happy with the final painting, and looking forward to the next one. Please share your feedback in the comments below I'd love to hear from you.